“Customers with an emotional relationship with a brand have 306% higher lifetime value.”
Gone are the days when customers remained loyal to a single brand for a long time. Customers’ loyalty has become vulnerable especially since too many options are available online.
This increased digitalisation has led brands to focus more on customer retention strategies that increase customer lifetime value. Therefore, it has become imperative to implement customer loyalty programs at each stage of the customer lifecycle.
Here, we have discussed how you can enhance customer lifecycle marketing with an effective customer loyalty program.
What Is Lifecycle Marketing?
Lifecycle marketing is simply a set of strategies a brand uses to influence customer behaviour positively at different levels of the customer lifecycle till they become a brand advocate. Lifecycle marketing focuses on engaging existing and new customers and ultimately increasing revenue.
To achieve the highest possible CLVT, it is important for you to understand your customers and categorise them accordingly. A customer goes through the following stages before turning into a brand advocate:
- Prospect: Such customers are new to your brand and may have shown interest in it. These customers can be window shoppers, anonymous visitors to your website or registered customers who are just exploring more about your brand.
- Active customers: Active customers are those who actually buy your products. These can be first-time buyers, frequent buyers or returning buyers.
- Inactive customers: These include those customers who were actively buying from your brand but now have stopped. Such customers seek motivation to buy again from your brand or else may switch to another brand.
- Engaged customers: Such customers are loyal to your brand and are unlikely to switch to any other brand.
Stages Of Lifecycle Marketing
Throughout the customer lifecycle, different types of marketing strategies are required to keep customers connected to the brand. Here’s how lifecycle marketing works across different stages of customer lifecycle:
- Awareness and Acquisition Stage: At this first stage, the customer knows very less about your brand or products. Therefore, this stage focuses more on gaining the attention of your target audience. For this, you may choose to run different ad campaigns for brand awareness or concentrate on word-of-mouth marketing to bring referral business.
- Consideration and Action: Once you have the attention of your audience, they are considering whether to buy or not buy from you. At this stage, you need to motivate your customers to buy a product via recommendations and reviews, giving out additional information about your product through blogs, or giving them additional discounts to convince them to make a purchase.
- Conversion and Motivation: After the customer has made the first purchase from your brand, it becomes important for you to keep them motivated to make further purchases. To motivate them, you may send personalised recommendations, offer free shipping or enrol them on a tiered loyalty program to maintain their interest in your brand.
- Engagement and Recognition: Modern customers are most likely to lose interest in a brand and switch to other brands as soon as they find a better deal. Therefore, to keep the customers’ bucket full, it is important to acquire and retain customers. You will have to connect with your customers via social media, email, SMS or more to keep motivating them to make purchases. Moreover, it is important to focus on building emotional connections in order to turn your customers into loyal customers.
The Role of a Loyalty Program in Lifecycle Marketing
A loyalty program is a structured marketing approach that rewards customers for their repeat business and brand loyalty. It plays a vital role in enhancing lifecycle marketing by addressing the post-purchase stages and nurturing long-term customer relationships. Here’s how a loyalty program can benefit each stage of the customer lifecycle:
- Incentive for New Customers: A loyalty program can serve as an attractive incentive for new customers to make their initial purchases. Offering rewards, discounts, or exclusive access can motivate them to choose your brand over competitors.
- Data Collection: As customers enrol in your loyalty program, you can collect valuable data about their preferences and purchase behaviour. This data can be used to personalize future marketing efforts and product recommendations.
- Onboarding: Use the loyalty program to educate and onboard new customers. Share information about how the program works, the benefits they can expect, and how to earn and redeem rewards. This ensures customers understand the value proposition.
- Encourage First Transactions: Offer bonus points or discounts to encourage new customers to make their first purchase or take a desired action, such as subscribing to a newsletter or downloading an app.
- Continuous Engagement: Loyalty programs provide a mechanism for ongoing engagement with customers. Regularly communicate with program members through email, SMS, or a dedicated app to keep them informed about special offers, promotions, and new products.
- Rewards and Recognition: Reward loyal customers with points, discounts, or exclusive gifts for their continued patronage. Acknowledging their loyalty helps strengthen their emotional connection to your brand. You can gift your customers gift vouchers that will give them flexibility to choose a gift of their own choice. Know more about how a gift voucher as rewards can make your loyalty program spectacular.
- Personalization: Leverage the data collected from the loyalty program to personalize marketing messages and product recommendations. Show customers that you understand their preferences and are committed to meeting their needs.
Revenue Growth Phase:
- Upselling and Cross-Selling: Use the loyalty program to promote upselling and cross-selling opportunities. Recommend complementary products or upgrades to existing customers based on their purchase history and preferences.
- Referral Programs: Encourage loyal customers to refer friends and family to join the loyalty program. Offer rewards for successful referrals to expand your customer base.
- Brand Advocacy: Engage your most loyal customers to become brand advocates. Encourage them to write reviews, share their experiences on social media, and participate in user-generated content campaigns.
- Exclusive Events: Host exclusive events or early-access sales for loyal customers as a way to make them feel special and appreciated. This can strengthen their loyalty and increase their advocacy.
A loyalty program serves as a powerful tool within the lifecycle marketing strategy. It helps businesses attract, activate, retain, and grow their customer base by offering incentives, fostering engagement, and collecting valuable customer data. When implemented effectively, loyalty programs can contribute to increased customer lifetime value and brand loyalty, ultimately driving business growth.